TikToker jailed in Indonesia after saying Muslim prayer before eating pork

Indonesia jails woman under blasphemy laws (Screengrab/@LinaMukherjee)
Indonesia jails woman under blasphemy laws (Screengrab/@LinaMukherjee)

A court in Indonesia has jailed a woman for two years after she posted a TikTok video in which she said a Muslim prayer before eating pork.

Lina Lutfiawati, also known as Lina Mukherjee, was found guilty of "spreading information that was intended to incite hatred" against religious individuals and groups under the country's stringent blasphemy laws.

The 33-year-old, who identifies as being Muslim according to court documents, was sentenced on Tuesday in the city of Palembang, on Sumatra island.

Ms Lutfiawati posted a video in March where she said Bismillah (in the name of God) before eating crispy pork skin, according to court documents.

The video garnered millions of views and was criticised by the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), the country's top Muslim clerical body, as blasphemous.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority nation in the world and consumption of pork is strictly prohibited under Islam.

The lifestyle influencer with over two million followers on TikTok has also been ordered to pay 250 million rupiah ($16,249.59).

After the trial, Lutfiawati told reporters that she was surprised with the verdict. "I know that I am wrong but I did not expect this punishment," she told local station MetroTV.

Indonesia's blasphemy laws have been widely criticised by rights groups for its alleged weaponisation to target minorities.

Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said the blasphemy article in Indonesian law has been abused to target minority groups and dissenters.

"It contravenes Indonesia's international obligations in relation to respect and protection for freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression," he said.

The blasphemy law has been used to sentence former Christian governor Basuki "Ahok" Purnama to two years in prison in 2017.

Indonesian police last year arrested six employees of a bar for violating blasphemy laws amid a row over the outlet offering free drinks to people named Mohammad and Maria.